John Carpenter is considered to be one of horror's greatest directors and has also had quite a bit of mainstream success. Halloween and The Thing are horror classics, but he has also touched on science fiction with They Live and Starman, and action with Escape from New York and Big Trouble in Little China. Several Carpenter screenplays have been filmed by other directors, including The Eyes of Laura Mars. Carpenter frequently writes the script and music for the films he directs, and often uses pseudonyms because it looks bad to have when his name appears on the movie poster so many times.
Carpenter's influences include Howard Hawks and Don Siegel. His works draw much inspiration from Westerns, and often display a comic-book sensibility. He has made a conscious decision to work in genre films, because they allow him to maintain a nonconformist attitude and introduce subversive elements.
Thirty years of constant filmmaking left Carpenter burnt out, and he went into a temporary retirement after Ghosts of Mars. Mick Garris talked him into directing the Masters of Horror episode "Cigarette Burns," and he has since eased back into new projects.
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